Enter the discussion of identifying the Bears biggest needs before the NFL Draft and check out our mock NFL Draft of the top 8 picks! We’ll also discuss the exciting start of the NBA Playoffs, reveal our NBA All-Rookie Team and the NBA’s most disappointing rookie.
I was obviously not listening when someone said, “You shouldn’t judge a draft after only one season.” That’s a good point but I’m defiant. So, allow me to be quick to judge a few rookies who exceeded expectations.
#3. John Collins PF Atlanta Hawks – Collins is a rim rattling high flyer that is quick to dunk on anyone who around the rim.
However, he’s more than just a highlight film stud. John Collins is 2nd amongst rookies in blocks per game with 1.1, 2nd in rebounds with 7.3, 3rd in FG% with 58%, while averaging 10.4 points and he only plays 24 minutes per game.
What makes John Collin’s rookie performance such a pleasant surprise? He was not a draft lottery selection as he fell to the Hawks at the #19 pick in the draft. Collins has made a few teams second guess themselves for selecting some underwhelming big men ahead of him.
With the 16th pick, Minnesota selected Justin Patton. But you might find him on the back of a milk carton because Tom Thibodeau won’t use him even though he has fully recovered from his foot injury. With the 10th pick, it seems like the Blazers reached too high for the former freshman Gonzaga star Zach Collins. He’s only averaging 4 points, 3 rebounds and his field goal percentage of 41% is low for a big man. With the 6th pick, the Magic are keeping their fingers crossed that Jonathan Isaac fully recovers from continuing pain and stiffness in his right ankle. Isaac is only averaging 5 points and 3 rebounds in an injury riddled 27 games. John Collins has established himself as the best big-man on the Hawks rebuilding roster in his rookie season and he’s an exciting young piece with the potential to average a double-double while wowing the crowd with explosive dunks.
#2 Kyle Kuzma SF Los Angeles Lakers – Kuzma busted onto the scene during the Laker’s summer league play by out shining highly touted Lonzo Ball by winning the Summer League Championship MVP award. During the regular season, he proved that was no fluke as he’s currently 2nd amongst 2017 rookies in scoring average with 16.1 points per game and 4th in rebounds with 6.3 per game.
What makes Kuzma’s rookie year performance such a pleasant surprise? He was only a few selections away from falling to the unguaranteed contract zone in the 2nd round of the draft as the #27 pick. Even if King LeBron doesn’t join the Lake Show next season, the Lakers have a young core to build around with Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, a ton of cap space and the 2nd biggest steal of the draft in Kyle Kuzma.
#1 Donovan Mitchell SG Utah Jazz – The 2018 Slam Dunk Champion is more than just an eyebrow raising Vince Carter impersonator. Mitchell is by far the scoring champ amongst rookies with an average of 20.4 points per game.
What makes Mitchell’s rookie performance such a pleasant surprise? Who knew that this #13 overall pick from Louisville University would make Jazz fans quickly forget about losing All-Star Gordon Hayward to the Celtics in the off-season? As a rookie, Mitchell is the leader of a squad that has established themselves as a serious playoff contender even though you can’t find one NBA expert or anyone who predicted that Utah would make the playoffs before the start of the regular season.
As the 13th overall selection, Mitchell is the best player from the 2017 draft and he plays with a chip on his shoulder for not being drafted higher. The Pistons has got to be kicking themselves for selecting former Duke star Luke Kennard (7points per game) with the 12th pick one spot ahead of this rising star..
Unfortunately, Mitchell probably won’t receive that Rookie of the Year honor because Ben Simmons (16ppg, 8reb & 8ass) from the 2016 draft class will get that trophy because he sat out his 1st season due to a broken foot. But Jazz fans should be more than happy that Gordon Hayward’s departure for Boston during free agency seems like a blessing in disguise as Mitchell has restored hope in Utah.
CliveNBAParody, “Russell Westbrook Gets Dunked On By John Collins! OKC Thunder vs Hawks.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 13 Mar, 2018. Web. Apr 8, 2018.